Putin’s Iran visit shows Russia’s ‘desperation’: US Institute of Peace

President of Russia Vladimir Putin Moscow may want to show that it is still important in the Middle East by visiting Iran, but instead, the trip shows “a bit of desperation,” says John Drennan of the American Institute of Peace.

The goal was to discuss the peace process in Syria with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, said Drennan, who is a senior program officer at USIP’s Center for Russia and Europe.

Putin met with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to announcements on the Kremlin website published on Tuesday.

“We are strengthening our cooperation in international security and making a concrete contribution to solving the Syrian conflict.” Putin said.

I think the Russians will spin the crowd to prove they’re not really isolated, they’re still a major player in the Middle East.

John Drennan

Senior Program Officer, US Institute of Peace

Putin also met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Iran.

“I think the Russians will spin the crowd to prove they’re not really isolated, they’re still a major player in the Middle East,” he told CNBC. “Squawk Box Asia” On Wednesday.

“But I think, should [National Security Council spokesman John Kirby’s] “That the Russians have to go to the Iranians for military support shows a sense of desperation,” he added.

Earlier, Kirby told reporters at the White House that the trip “shows how isolated Mr. Putin and Russia are.”

“Now they have to turn to Iran for help,” he said.

Russia’s Press Service and Information Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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Interest in Iranian drones

The White House said Russian officials have seen weaponized drones in Iran that Moscow may want to buy for the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, CIA Director William Burns said Russia’s interest in Iranian drones “is a reflection of the deficiencies in Russia’s defense sector today, the difficulties they face after significant losses so far in the war against Ukraine, and complementing their stakes.”

“The Russians and the Iranians need each other now. Both countries are heavily embargoed and want to break out of political isolation,” he added.

Countries want to help each other avoid sanctions and show their will, Burns said, but there are limits to how much they can cooperate. Tehran and Moscow don’t really trust each other because they are energy rivals and historical rivals.

USIP’s Drennan said competition over sanctioned energy exports is a structural issue preventing deeper Russia-Iran ties.

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi congratulates Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 19, 2022. John Drennan of the American Institute of Peace said Putin wanted to show that Moscow still matters in the Middle East by visiting Iran.

Sergey Savostyanov | AFP | Good pictures

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